Stephanie Adeline, Daniel Wood |
Saturday, February 29, 2020
Updated on March 19 at 4:14 p.m. ET
On March 19, the State Department issued a travel notice advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, citing travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines and potential severe travel disruptions due to airlines cancelling many international flights.
The Centers for Disease Control Prevention has travel health warnings as well, flagging countries where the CDC believes there is a risk of infection.
There are three levels of notices based on the risk presented by the outbreak and what precautions are needed to prevent infection.
The highest level, a "Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel," was initially issued for countries with "widespread sustained spread" of the virus –– China, South Korea and Iran.
The United Kingdom, Ireland and Malaysia, as well as most of Western Europe, have since been added to the list — as well as all cruise ship travel.
The CDC advises travelers returning from the European countries listed to monitor their health and stay home for 14 days after returning and to practice social distancing.
The CDC issued an "Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions" for all other global travel on March 12, noting that sustained community spread of COVID-19 is occurring globally. Older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions are advised to consider postponing nonessential travel. All other travelers are advised to avoid sick people and regularly wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Those returning from travel should also monitor their health and limit interactions for 14 days, CDC says.
The CDC has not issued advisories regarding domestic travel to specific cities and states in the U.S. but has offered guidance for domestic travelers, focusing on such issues as the degree of spread in the destination and the traveler's home community, the traveler's age and health. According to the CDC, travelers should also consider the possibility of taking time off work or school after returning home in case they were exposed to or are sick with COVID-19 during travel.
The CDC also currently has other travel health notices unrelated to COVID-19. For example, it has issued the Level 2 Alert for several countries in Africa and Asia because of polio and a Watch Level 1 for some parts of Central and South America for dengue.
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